Personal stories

Inspiring brighter futures

Blue Smile is dedicated to inspiring Happier Children to lead Brighter Futures.

Each and every day, our therapists support children living with mental ill health in schools right across Cambridgeshire.

Here are some of our recent personal stories of children we’ve supported.

Please note all details have been changed to protect each child’s identity.

Stacey’s story

Stacey cried every day about going to school. Once there, she stayed at her desk, arranging her pens and books precisely and objecting if her classmates touched anything. When taught by a supply teacher one day, Stacey stayed completely still and then wet herself. Her school was aware that Stacey’s father had been imprisoned the previous year and her mother was being treated for depression. After agreement from her mum, Stacey’s school referred her to Blue Smile.

Initially, Stacey ignored her therapist and instead concentrated on rearranging the toys in the room, saying she was ‘clearing up a mess’. She gradually built up enough trust to suggest shyly that she herself might ‘make a mess’ and set about creating storms in the sand-tray. She included a policeman figure who was also a ‘mess maker’. By exploring Stacey’s fears of ‘mess’ and ‘storms’, her therapist helped her manage and transform them. Eventually the policeman became a ‘rescuer’, someone who Stacey said kept children safe. Her mother reported she had been able to express that prison visits frightened her because she thought she was ‘bad’ and might be put in prison too.

Stacey started to participate more in class, was able to learn and make friends and was happy to come to school; her mum found her happier and calmer at home too.

Nathan’s story of self harm

Nathan was a nine-year-old boy who was struggling in school because he’d become aggressive towards both adults and children, lost his friends and needed to be managed outside the classroom. Nathan was referred to Blue Smile to see if therapy might help with his anger and distress.

In his first therapy sessions, Nathan chose an ‘attacker monster’ toy, which each week would ‘crash into’ and destroy smaller creatures. One day, Nathan came to a session with a large bruise on his forehead and it became clear to Nathan’s therapist that he’d been hitting his head against his bedroom wall “to crash the bad monsters out of my head”. Following a meeting with Nathan’s mother, she revealed that he’d witnessed a violent fight around the same time that his father left. Nathan seemed to feel that fights needed to be won or people would disappear from his life.

Slowly, Nathan’s once angry monster turned into a friendly monster, and, in school, he learned to control his temper and made a new group of friends. He even went to his first sleepover, taking his ‘friendly monster’ with him.

Layla’s story of family breakdown

Layla had become withdrawn and quiet since the start of the new school term, not wanting to play with her friends or speak to adults about what might be worrying her. Wanting to help, her school contacted Blue Smile and Layla was matched up with her psychotherapist.

Each week, they spent time together, exploring the play and art therapy resources and building a trusting relationship. Soon Layla become comfortable enough to share her feelings with her therapist and reveal that her parents were getting divorced and that her father had left the family home without warning.

Gradually, Layla came to terms with this enormous change: depicting in her play and art work two families, rather than the fragmented family that had shocked her so much. She was able to heal, socialise with her friends and take part in school again.

How to

work with us

Our impact

in schools

Find out

who we are